June 20 (Reuters) - Hong Kong stocks closed at a near six-week high on Thursday as the resumption of Sino-U.S. trade talks continued to boost market sentiment, which was also aided by increasing prospects of U.S. rate cuts later this year.
** The Hang Seng index closed up 1.2% at 28,550.43, while the China Enterprises Index gained 1.5% to 10,922.39 points.
** Expectations of a worldwide wave of central banks’ stimulus also helped bolster sentiment after the U.S. Federal Reserve signalled that more policy stimulus is needed to boost growth.
** The rally in stocks comes as a host of central banks in Asia and Europe are scheduled to hold policy meetings later in the day, with most expected to flag moves toward looser monetary settings. ** Top Chinese and U.S. officials will resume trade talks in accordance with the wishes of their leaders, but China hopes the United States will create the necessary conditions for dialogue, the Chinese commerce ministry said on Thursday.
** Aiming to jumpstart dormant talks, the top U.S. trade negotiator said he will confer with his Chinese counterpart before next week’s meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Japan as the two countries take another shot at resolving their damaging trade dispute.
** Upcoming trade talks between China and the United States are unlikely to immediately resolve major disagreements between the two sides, but could start a new phase in negotiations, Chinese state media said on Thursday. ** The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday signalled interest rate cuts beginning as early as July, saying it is ready to battle growing global and domestic economic risks as it took stock of rising trade tensions and growing concerns about weak inflation.
** The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares ended 0.6% firmer, while the IT sector closed up 1.62%, the financial sector closed 1.26% higher and the property sector ended up 1.42%. ** The top gainer on the Hang Seng was Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, which gained 4.87%, while the biggest loser was Techtronic Industries Co Ltd, which ended down 1.35%.
** Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was firmer by 1.27%, while Japan’s Nikkei index closed up 0.6%. ** The yuan was quoted at 6.8506 per U.S. dollar at 0847 GMT, 0.76% firmer than the previous close of 6.9033.
$1 = 6.8501 Chinese yuan Reporting by the Shanghai Newsroom